tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN February 22, 2019 12:00am-1:00am PST
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simple. easy. awesome. xfinity, the future of awesome. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. a no nonsense federal judge in washington dealing a severe blow to trump ally roger stone, a self-described dirty trickster. judge amy berman jackson was having none of his dirty tricks after he flippantly posted this image to instagram. there it is right there. it's the photo of jackson with
crosshairs of a gun drawn behind her head. jackson tightened stone's gag order forbidding him from speaking publicly about any a aspect of the case or anything that led to his indictment of obstruction of justice and witness tampering. judge jackson warning stone that he's not getting another chance. if he violates her order, she'll consider putting him in jail. let's discuss right now. shimon prokupecz is here, jack quinn and morgan pekme, the director of "get me roger stone." good evening, everyone. shimon, i'm going to start with you. the judge in the roger stone case wasn't having any of his excuses. lay out for us exactly what happened in court and how roger stone explained his instagram post. >> yeah, don, first of all, it was really disabizarre to have r stone testifying in this kind of a hearing. no one expected him to take stand, but with most things with roger stone, this is how he
performs. this is what he does. he took to the stand to try to explain to the judge that, yes, it was a mistake, but then he was offering all sorts of executions for how this could have happened. at one point telling the judge he didn't know who had access to his phone. he didn't know how he received this message. the picture of her and how it got posted. then there was another interesting exchange that i'll go ahead and read for you, where he was trying to explain to the judge, he didn't know that this was crosshairs. here's what the judge said to him. is it fair to say that you are 100% responsible for everything that gets posted and it's not anybody else's fault? stone replies, that is correct, i take responsibility. i don't have any employees. i do have volunteers helping because of my financial circumstances. they do a lot of the clerical work. i am in all honesty not very technologically proficient, but i accept responsibility. it is my fault. the judge then says to him, do you know how to do a google
search? he says yes. then she says, do the volunteers that work for you know how to do a google search? and he says yes. how hard is it to come up with a photograph that didn't have a crosshairs in the corner? and he says, your honor, i didn't recognize it as a crosshairs. and the point of that is that her photo, if he just simply did a google search, he would find it on the court's website. so clearly she just was not buying any of it, don. >> over and over again she wouldn't let him off the hook. >> no, she wouldn't. she kept going at him. she said he was lying basically. he took the stand, like i said, that was a bizarre moment. she did not believe his excuses. she found it hard to believe he would not know these were crosshairs. she said he was doing this to stoke up followers and it was a deliberate choice. he made a deliberate choice. most important here what she said for her, this judge, that she felt that this message, what he did here had a more sinister
message. and that's sort of the tone that she took here. i mean, he's very lucky, don, that she did not put him in jail as he awaits trial. >> morgan, let me bring you in because you're the director of the documentary "get me roger stone." he's not allowed to speak publicly. that's probably the worst sentence he can have. is he going to be able to stick to this? >> as he said in our movie, speaking to the media is what i do, that's my value. he can't help himself taking advantage of this humongous stage that he has right now. but by his own admission, that was a tremendously stupid thing that he did and i think he may have learned his lesson because he certainly doesn't want to go to prison and he is going to be very careful i think not to violate the judge's order. >> yeah. jack, what do you make of the strategy to put roger stone on the stand, especially -- it was surprising to a lot of people, but to put him on the stand, especially when he couldn't say who posted that photo to
instagram, if it really wasn't him? >> i have no idea what the calculation was there. it didn't make any sense to me. look, i don't want to pick on roger's lawyers. i will say it's a good thing for roger that stupidity is not a crime. if it were, you know, he'd be looking at a really long sentence. i mean, it's just unbelievable that in the face of the charges he was filing -- he was facing, he did something like this. and let me just remind everybody who is watching and who is talking here tonight. this judge is the person who will sentence him if he's ever found guilty. so, you know, having a picture like that with the horrific message imbedded in it, these crosshairs, it's just -- what can i say? it's just monumentally stupid. >> and what do you think about the judge? she didn't think roger stone was sincere. she grew impatient when he changed his answers.
she's saying next violation, jail. >> listen, i said earlier this morning that she's likely not going to send him to jail now. i think she'd simply -- she must have been so tempted, but i think that she did not want to allow roger to be able to, you know, prance himself around as a victim. so i think she's going above and beyond the call, giving him one more chance, but if he does anything this criminally stupid again, he'll be behind bars. >> morgan, we all know what crosshairs looks like. he tried to say it was a celtic cross. are those the kinds of excuses typical for roger stone? >> roger stone once made a drunken late-night phone call to elliot spitzer's father when elliot spitzer's father was the
governor of new york, saying it was an impressionist doing his voice, he was at a play, the most ridiculous executiocuses impossible to sustain. one of roger's main tactics is hurling invective at people. he's hurled it at you on one occasion, don. it's something he can't resist. as smart as roger is in so many ba ways, he does things that are confounding confoundingly that are really stupid and self-destructive. now he's fighting for his freedom. to do this to the judge was jaw-dropping. >> if i had a puny for all of the people who had hurled invectives at me, i wouldn't have to sit here. it's always fascinating for somebody to say somebody said something about you, they don't like you. really? what did they say? remind me. i forgot about the whole twitter thing. i actually read about it.
>> roger was disappointed when he saw our movie because he always wanted it to end with a montage all the times he threatened to have my co-directors and i killed if he didn't like how the movie turned out. the fact we had a different type of ending, he was disappointing. >> someone impersonating him, right? someone else. >> now central to this whole russia investigation. >> i'm talking about the president himself who used to pretend that he was his own publicist and say his name was john barron back in the day. i wonder where he got that from. >> the president learned a lot of tactics from roger. >> shimon, speak to the bigger picture of what we're starting to see here. any day now mueller may deliver his report. it could drop at any moment. >> yeah. >> roger stone, he is in court. michael cohen on capitol hill today ahead of his testimony next week. that's a short list of the things that touched president trump. >> there's a lot going on. it really could happen in the next day. this mueller -- the ending of
the investigation and the report going to department of justice. we're in that zone now where this could either happen tomorrow or it could happen on monday or, you know, maybe perhaps later, but, you know, most of us are pretty much ready for it to come at any point. the other thing you have happening tomorrow is that the special counsel's office issi going to be filing their sentencing memo on paul manafort, where we expect to learn a lot more about what he was involved in and what their allegations are. that's going to be file at some point tomorrow. and then next week, really, there is going to be even more high drama, right? you have michael cohen kind of going on a tour of capitol hill. we saw him there today. he's going to appear before three committees. one of the committees, the oversight committee, is going to be testifying publicly and he's really supposed to talk about and testify about the president's business dealings. the long history in new york of the trump organization, the foundation, a lot of what the
southern district of new york has been looking at, and this is all supposed to happen by the end of next week. i think thursday or so is when she he's supposed to testify and then he's going to start appearing at other committees as well. it's going to be a busy week for michael cohen and we're going to learn a lot about the president's history according to michael cohen. >> i know, jack, your focus is really what happens after the attorney general gets the mueller report. what will he do with it? >> well, obviously that remains to be seen. i think, look, let me just break it down this way. the attorney general is required to reveal very little. he's only required to reveal information about the prosecutions he says cannot be undertaken. he's permitted to reveal a great deal. in fact, he's permitted to essentially reveal anything he wants except with some notable exceptions, classified information, information that
would compromise ongoing investigations, information that would impinge on the privacy rights of people who are not indicted. you know, that said, i think, first of all, i think that it will really behoove the attorney general to do his dead level best to get on the same wavelength at the special counsel. i think if there is daylight between them, that will be plenty of ammunition for capitol hill to be issuing subpoenas for the report. but i think that when you step back and think about what has happened in recent days, you know, you've got mr. mccabe out there on a book tour. he has just said -- he's just revealed that the fbi opened an investigation of the president of the united states because the fbi was concerned that he might be an agent of a hostile foreign
power. it's inconceivable to me that in those circumstances the attorney general can really try to reveal very little about this investigation. i think not only capitol hill would be up in arms. i think the american people would be up in arms. we've had on cnn air all day a poll that indicates that 87%, including republicans and independents, as well ademocratas democrats, want to see the fruits of this investigation. >> they paid for it. >> they paid for it and it belongs to them. i think they're going to be very hard-pressed to do what they're legally able to do, and that is bury a lot of this information. >> so, shimon, listen, in the short time that we have left, even after the mueller report gets turned in, the president still needs to worry about the southern district of new york. >> that is not going away any time soon. you know, the southern district
of new york, as we are all very much aware now, they're quite aggressive. that investigation from everything we can tell is just heating up. they just issued subpoenas for the inauguration committee information, finances and other information. that's what we know of. who knows what else they're doing. and also the hush money payments. that investigation we've seen indications is not over. oh there is still a lot going on there. the prosecutor on that case is aggressive. i think they're going to try to see this way -- see that investigation through. the other thing what's interesting is what the southern district of new york is doing, people here in d.c., at the department of justice, main justice, don't even have a full read on what's going on there because that is on purpose. the southern district of new york does not want to tell main justice what they're working on. so we have no idea what they're doing. we're hearing, you know, little tidbits of information here and there, but it's pretty serious. just one final point. it's so serious that the people that are the closest to the president, his lawyers and his
staffers and other people that really know him well say that that is the one thing that they are concerned about. the mueller thing, i think they feel that they are okay with that, but it's the southern district of new york investigation that they really are still concerned about. >> gentlemen, thank you. i appreciate your time. michael cohen is set to testify publicly before the house oversight committee next week. i'm going to talk to a member of the committee, congressman raja chris na murphy next. ♪ t-mobile will do the math for you. right now, when you join t-mobile, you get two lines of unlimited with two of the latest phones included for just one hundred bucks a month. (voice) (danny)know what impressing the heck out of me. also, giving a shih tzu an updo. pet care ain't easy. 12 hours? 20 dogs?
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wednesday. congressman raja krishnamoorthi is a member of that continue and he joins me now. it's so good to have you on. >> thanks, don. >> the main event next week is when he testifies publicly before your committee. we saw chairman cummings, that memo saying the focus is on trump's finances related to the campaign, his compliance with tax law, the d.c. trump hotel, the trump foundation, trump's business practices and so on. what are you going to be asking him? >> well, thanks for having me on, don. the president's right-hand man is finally going to take his right hand up in front of the committee and tell us all about his -- the president's personal life, professional life and of course his organization. and campaign. i'm going to be very interested in why michael cohen went from being one of the president's staunchest defenders to becoming one of his staunchest critics. that will be a fascinating topic in and of itself. >> do you think he should be
worried about, the president meaning, should he be worried about what michael cohen might reveal? >> possibly. i think that obviously michael cohen knows so much about so many topics involving the president. as you know, the president has said numerous -- made numerous statements with regard to his personal finances, his dealings with other entities, and so michael cohen having personal knowledge of these transactions can shed a lot of light on what the truth actually is. >> yeah. so congressman, republicans are saying that democrats are limiting the scope of the hearing to only be about the president. the ranking republican member, jim jordan, says that he intends to ask about the crimes michael cohen pleaded guilty to and michael cohen's finances. what happens when republicans ask questions outside the scope of the cummings memo? >> well, obviously chairman cummings and michael cohen
agreed to certain ground rules. remember, this is a voluntary testimony on the part of michael cohen. so if questions go outside those ground rules, it's poll that michael cohen may or may not answer them. that being said, i hope that the republicans don't turn this hearing into a total circus. there are some important and serious topics that have to be discussed and i hope that we'll narrow our scope to those particular topics. >> yeah. so the ranking member jordan says this hearing is, quote, phase one of the democrats' coordinated campaign to remove the president from office. what is the end game here? what is the goal? >> i think the goal is we need to get at the truth, and we also need to know, you know, how do our laws, rules and regulations need to be modified to prevent some of the illegal wrongdoing that we see that happened in 2016 and making sure that it doesn't happen again. i think that's really what the
oversight committee is all about. >> so, speaker pelosi says she won't tolerate any witness intimidation. you know what happened last time and then michael cohen postponed his hearing. >> yes. yes. >> speaking in front of the committees. what happens if president trump tweets about michael cohen or his family, as he has done in the past? are you worried that he's going to pull out of testifying again? >> i hope not. i hope the president doesn't resort to that. as you know, the president has in the past called michael cohen a "rat." that's a term of art that's used in the mafia. giuliani and cohen -- stone have also used those terms as well. but the main point is that we can't go down that road. our government should not operate like a mafia. we have to do whatever we can to protect michael cohen as well. >> thank you, congressman. i appreciate your time. >> thank you, don.
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garrett grath. gentlemen, good evening. garrett, i'm going to start with you. here are the seven ways that you think mueller's investigation could wrap up and i'm going to let the audience read the list for themselves. so which of these scenarios do you think seems more likely? >> well, one of the things i think we have to realize is that when everyone talks about the mueller report, we sort of have this idea that he's going to turn in, you know, one definitive novel, sort of like ken starr did or the 9/11 commission did, that answers all of our questions. and i don't necessarily think that's the most likely scenario. in part because he doesn't have a way to release that directly to the public. you know, as you said, he's turning over something to the attorney general at the end of his investigation and then the attorney general is choosing what would get turned over. so the one thing that bob
mueller does have control over is what gets filed in court as part of indictments. so i think if there are more charges that bob mueller can bring, that's a way that he can ensure that he has control over what information gets made public and when it gets made public. >> so, eric, all of this really rests on the attorney general, the new attorney general, by the way, bill barr. it rests on his shoulders. he promised to be as transparent as possible in his confirmation. other than that, we don't know what william barr is going to do. what do you think? >> i don't think he knows either. in his confirmation hearing he was speaking out loud a little bit. i do think he's not going to be a puppet of trump in any way. that said, he is someone who believes in the power of the presidency and is not looking for ways to undermine that. i think he will at the end of the day err on the side of being more forthcoming because he knows a couple of things.
one is that he is perceived of bottling up information that is harmful to the president, the knives will be out. there will be leaks and it will harm the president politically. and second, congress will be coming after him as well with subpoenas and may be able to get a lot of what is in mueller's report, maybe the whole thing, through the judicial process and through fights that could go all the way up to the supreme court and could last for over a year and that might not be a fight the trump administration wants to have. >> garrett, you write about the immutable truths of mueller's investigation. you say, "first every move has surprised us. both in timing and content. second, every court filing has been more informed, detailed and insightful than anyone imagined and showed us what we knew publicly was only the type of the iceberg." do you think we're in for more surprises? >> i sort of think we are. eric and i were just talking
about this a minute or two ago, in part because mueller has been so conspicuously silent about parts of this investigation that i have to believe that he is staying silent about those corners of the investigation for a reason. that he has sort of left she's strange unexplained breadcrumbs across many of these court filings. he sort of appeared to draw out specific dates that seem like they should matter without telling us why. and i sort of feel like he is -- he has left those for some purpose because otherwise he has -- he's gone out of his way to make his job a lot harder than it needed to be along the way, across all of the more than 500 pages of court filings that he's already filed. >> so, eric, listen, barr also pointed out in his confirmation hearing that the doj doesn't
release derogatory information about people who aren't going to be indicted. but because the doj has a policy that the president can't be indicted, should that change how this is handled? >> that's an excellent point, don, and i think it very well might. because in a typical situation there is a privacy interest of someone who the doj had a chance to indict and decided not to. as you note, doj has long maintained that the president is constitutionally immune to indictment. he's not immune, of course, to impeachment. and to the extent that is something that if indictment is not on the table then impeachment has to be, at least theoretically, on the table. and therefore there is far more than the usual situation a public interest in learning information, derogatory information about someone who even though that person is not going to be indicted by doj. >> garrett, for as much as it looks like mueller is wrapping things up, roger stone's case looks like it's really just beginning. could mueller be playing a longer game than we think? >> yeah.
and i think that, you know, even if bob mueller announces on tuesday that he's totally done, he's brought every charge that he's going to bring and he's going back to his golf game in california on wednesday, which i don't think is the most likely scenario, let me hasten to add, but this is a case that will likely go on for years in the various courts. you know, he has handed back parts of this investigation to the district attorney in the district of columbia. he's handed back parts of the cases that he's already brought to the national security division at the justice department. some of these cases like roger stone and some of the other matters that he's actually still pushing forward to try to get testimony from certain witnesses or get documents from this foreign mystery subpoena target could continue for quite some time. i mean, we sort of forget that, you know, in some cases the watergate trials and relegal
battles stretched out over the better part of a decade. >> just after william barr was sworn in as attorney general, eric, last week, there was a flurry of activity in reporting that mueller is wrapping up. some people say that could be an indication that barr was involved himself in bringing the investigation to a close. what do you think of that? >> i think that's unlikely. i do not think that barr was going to sweep in and tell mueller to shut down. your network reported that some of mueller's team was seen moving file boxes out of his office, their offices the week before barr was confirmed. so it doesn't seem like that was done in response to an edict from barr. that said, people sometimes react to something that they think will be coming in the future. mueller might have felt that it might have been more prudent to be shutting down soon to make it harder for barr to take adverse actions against him and to kind of cede things in, as garrett
has noted, in other doj offices where it will be harder for trump to demonize them. trump has made mueller a villain throughout this process. he has not succeeded in doing that with the southern district of new york, which has been going after campaign finance issues very hard. it will be hard for trump to demonize actions taken by other divisions and u.s. attorneys' offices in the years to come if he doesn't have a face to target. >> eric, garrett, thank you for your time. appreciate it. senate investigators want to talk to a previously unknown trump associate. what does he know about the president's personal and professional activities? oh! oh! ♪ ozempic®! ♪ (announcer) people with type 2 diabetes are excited about the potential of once-weekly ozempic®. in a study with ozempic®, a majority of adults lowered their blood sugar and reached an a1c of less than seven and maintained it. oh! under seven? and you may lose weight. in the same one-year study,
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. the senate intelligence committee wants to know for russia has compromising information on president donald trump, and they think an american businessman based in moscow, david geovanis, also known as geo, may have the answers. cnn's nina dos santos explains. >> reporter: we're talking about a u.s. citizen who since 2014 also has had a russian passport. he's somebody who has lived in russia for 30 years and known donald trump for most of that time. >> russia will continue -- >> reporter: the senate intelligence committee wants to talk to this man, an american who once escorted donald trump around moscow to see if he can confirm claims that russia has
embarrassing material on the president, according to multiple sources. david geovanis has been based if he the russian capital for almost three decades. at one point taking this picture in front of a joseph stalin portrait surrounded by scantily-clad women. sources tell cnn that geovanis has known donald trump since at least 1996 when he helped organized meetings like these for the now president and men who would go on to become donors to his 2016 campaign. >> it's been the best business year of my life. >> reporter: this russian news report from the time emerged online a month ago. it shows geovanis looking on as trump meets with moscow's deputy mayor. by his side, real estate moguls, bennett lebeau and howard lorber. >> behind me, i have to say, we have some of our great businessmen of the world. howard lorber, ben lebeau.
>> reporter: lorber did not respond to several requests for comment. the 1996 trip was part of a long-held plan to explore building a trump tower in moscow. geovanis also has close ties to another figure of interest, oleg deripaska, whose ties to trump's former campaign chief paul manafort have been scrutinized. when reached by cnn, geovanis said he had no comment to make on his present whereabouts or on the senate committee's interest in him. however, cnn has managed to ascertain that he is still in russia today. the president's legal team declined to comment on his relationship to geovanis and a lawyer for the trump organization also declined to comment. either way, though, you have here a new intriguing character who has been investigated and whose links to the president and russia go back much further than other names that have come up in these probes so far. because geovanis remains in russia, he won't be interviewed fully, despite speculation that
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them all straight. we had mr. geo now, mr. papadopoulos before. all these characters who have connectivity between moscow and some part of the trump organization. the most important thing you need to understand about a guy like this who is in russia and has been there for the better part of 30 years, he has essentially agreed to play by all the rules you have to play by if you want to be a, quote, unquote, successful businessman in moscow. moscow appears to be sort of like a western place, but you don't just go there and open up a donut shop and be successful. you've got to play by vladimir putin's rules. and if you don't, bad things happen to you. you get thrown into jail for ten years or you get thrown into jail recently like an american did just recently. it happens all the time. so, this is a guy who has essentially sold out and has agreed to do whatever vladimir putin or oleg deripaska, one of his lieutenants, tells him to. and of course it happens that he
also has great connections into the trump organization, or had, you know, as long ago as the '90s. a guy like that would be very valuable for the russian intelligence services and government to give ideas, thoughts, comments on trump and his organization. and that's i think what the real value is for him right now to the russians. >> so, david, geo's relationship with trump seems to go back decades. how significant is it that lawmakers are looking deeper into the president's past dealings with russian than previously known? >> oh, i think this is very important. by the way, i think that was a very well-done package that a lot of serious work went into to find the videos and the photos to illustrate it, but we don't know nearly enough about the 30 years that the russians have been courting donald, his repeated trips there. when i say russians, i don't just mean people in moscow. i mean russian speaking people. donald's been involved with people from kazakhstan and
georgia and elsewhere. these relationships are much deeper than we had any public awareness of and i'm sure there are many more names that are of significance to the people running the mueller investigation and hopefully running the house investigations into donald trump and his involvement with the russians. >> david, i want you to list to my colleague. this is anderson cooper talking to the former deputy fbi director andrew mccabe earlier this week. >> do you still believe the president could be a russian asset? >> i think it's possible. i think that's why we started our investigation and i'm really anxious to see where director mueller concludes that. >> so the question is, david, how might geovanis prove or disprove that the president is a russian asset? >> well, first of all, we got to get him to talk. and vladimir putin's going to have zero interest in him talking in his business interest, as steve points out, depend on vladimir putin's good graces. but he's going to know who donald met with, which
oligarchs, tell us more about oleg deripaska's relationship, which i think will be one of the central threads to all of this in understanding donald's relationship. by the way, i've been saying long before andrew mccabe that the kindest thing you can say about donald trump is that he has divided loyalties and i believe that wittingly or not he is in fact a russian asset. >> interesting. okay. steve, why do you think this photograph? we'll put it up. why is it drawing interest frost senate intelligence committee? >> well, there was a lot of racy stuff going on in moscow in the' 0 '90s. that's pretty tame but a lot of different standards. what those are interested in, those investigating donald trump, whether the russians, specifically the fsb, was able to obtain anything along the lines of kompromat, compromising information on donald trump. it would could be anything from shady business dealings that
later on could be extremely embarrassing to trump if they were revealed or some of the more salacious stuff that we saw in the steele documents. that's really what they're interested in. if vladimir putin and the kremlin have any leverage over the president of the united states, regardless of how long ago it was collected, that of course would be very damaging and in some interpretations could be, you know, called -- donald trump could then be called an asset or some sort of controlled entity by the russians and that's, of course, very dangerous. >> so why might his work for the russian oligarch oleg deripaska, who is it so interesting to investigators? as you said, we can't really keep them straight right now. >> i think -- i think what we've got going on is there are a number of different lines in an investigation. there are some really sinister ones. for example, could it be that donald trump somehow had a conversation with putin at some point and putin said, look, i got the goods on you. you need to do what i tell you to do. something as sort of gross and
direct as that or is it much more subtle that gets back to perhaps more criminality and less espionage type of stuff. a shady business deal gone wrong that they have all the details that they could reveal if they wanted to. that's the question they'd want to look into, i think. >> david, go ahead. >> let me suggest an even scarier scenario and that is that donald is really a house of cards. he doesn't behave like a billionaire. he's out there grubbing for relatively small sums of money in the way no billionaire would. the russians having put a lot of money into him could pull back money and create for him a real crisis. that would give them leverage over donald in a way that he would understand. >> gentlemen, fascinating conversation. we should have like a scorecard with faces on it so people could know exactly who we're talking about with all these characters that we're just learning about. thank you. i appreciate your time. see you next time. thank you for watching. our coverage continues. ple. with audible, you get more.
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why would anyone especially an african-american man use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations. >> the police chief is angry, the judge calls it vile. meantime smjussie smollett is bk on the set of "empire." what he told the crew after being charged with faking a hate crime. get ready for the split scene of a life time, michael cohen preparing to testify while the president meets with kim jung-un. and plus another trump cabinet member in hot water, why a decade old plea deal could be trouble